Chapter

A Justificationist View of Disagreement's Epistemic Significance

Jennifer Lackey

in Social Epistemology

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199577477
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595189 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199577477.003.0015
A Justificationist View of Disagreement's Epistemic Significance

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This chapter developes a justificationist account of the significance of disagreement between epistemic peers. Whereas current views maintain that disagreement, by itself, either simply does or does not possess epistemic power, this chapter's account holds that its epistemic power, or lack thereof, is explainable in terms of the degree of justified confidence with which the belief in question is held. In this sense, the chapter rejects nonconformism—the absence of doxastic revision in the face of peer disagreement is never justified merely by virtue of the fact that the beliefs in question are either mine or are the product of correct reasoning—and conformism—substantial doxastic revision in the face of peer disagreement is never justified merely by virtue of equal weight being given to my own beliefs and to those held by my epistemic peers. Despite this, however, one advantage of my justificationist account is that it is able to explain why nonconformism provides the intuitively correct result in some cases, while conformism gives the intuitively correct result in other cases. A further advantage is that this chapter's justificationist account is generalizable in a way that neither of these rival views is.

Keywords: conformism; disagreement in belief; doxastic revision; epistemic peers; justificationist epistemology; nonconformism

Chapter.  15233 words. 

Subjects: Metaphysics

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